An Overview of Cases Where a Dentist will require a Palatal Expander

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tooth being cleaned

Patients these days are quite concerned about their dental hygiene and smile appearance. As such, running an orthodontic or dental practice will be one of the most profitable ventures. Even so, the results your clients get will determine the profits you make and the referrals you get. Investing in high-end appliances and treatment solutions is important to get the best results.

This generally means a contract with a reliable dental laboratory for retainers and other dental appliances you will use to solve a range of issues. One of the most common appliances is a palatal expander. This is customized according to a patient’s palatal size and dental arch. It creates more space in a patient’s mouth by slowly widening the upper jaw.

That said, here are some scenarios where a palatal expander will work best.

Impacted Teeth

The most commonly impacted teeth are wisdom teeth. The impaction generally follows a lack of space on a patient’s jaws for the growth of teeth. In most cases, dentists will recommend the extraction of the impacted tooth to address the pain and discomfort associated with it. You nonetheless can also opt for palatal expansion. This will increase the available space for the growth of wisdom teeth. Palatal expansion is, however, an ideal approach only before a patient reports symptoms of tooth impaction.

Crossbites

These are characterized by the non-alignment of the upper and lower teeth when a patient bites down. Though often familial, crossbites can follow the eruption of permanent teeth before milk teeth fall out. It is also common in thumb sucking and mouth breathing. The palatal expansion will slowly widen the roof of the mouth. In so doing, both jaws will be aligned. When untreated, a crossbite will cause considerable wear and tear of the teeth and facial asymmetry.

Crowding

Crowded teeth are generally caused by a disharmony between the size and number of a patient’s teeth and his/her jaw size. It often follows the mismanagement of a jaw fracture, cleft palate, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting. Crowded teeth are also common in kids with over-retained milk teeth that grow back into the gums and reduce the space for permanent dentition. In palatal expansion, you can slowly increase the available space for the growth of permanent teeth and eliminate the need for tooth extraction.

Mouth Breathing

A narrowed palate is the most common cause of mouth breathing. This is because the deep upper jaw will make it difficult to breathe through the nose. Continuous mouth breathing increases a patient’s risk of contracting upper respiratory tract infections since the mouth is ill-equipped to filter out microorganisms. It also causes halitosis that can be quite embarrassing. With the palatal expansion, the depth of the upper palate is decreased to ease breathing through the nose.

Palatal expansion for the above indications is most successful in kids below sixteen years.  This is because their jaws are still growing and will be quite easy to manipulate. It would help if you encouraged your patients to start their dental care early.

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